Citizens deserve better

McCain's sarcasm isn't what we need to hear on immigration

In treating a fellow citizen with contempt and ridicule recently, Arizona Sen. John McCain illustrated three of America’s major problems.

The first is that, years after the debate began, our border with Mexico still is not secure – and many of us don’t trust the government to secure it as part of the upcoming immigration reform bill.

The second is that Americans who simply want the rule of law respected and enforced are being ignored, particularly along the border.

The third is that our leaders in Washington, including Mr. McCain, are imperious and arrogant and sometimes contemptuous of the people they are elected to serve.

McCain illustrated this most deftly when a citizen at an Arizona town hall expressed his dismay that the border fence hadn’t been completely built. McCain, who claimed he had shown otherwise in a chart earlier in the meeting, pointed to it and said sarcastically it’s not a fence, “it’s a banana. We’ve
put up a banana with about $600 million worth of appropriations.”

Senator, even angry constituents – who have every right to be angry – deserve better than that kind of condescending sarcasm. Only an imperious ruler gives that kind of treatment to his subjects.

We need term limits. Period. These people in Congress are out of control and out of touch.

President Obama claimed in May 2011 that the border fence was “now basically complete.” But shortly after, watchdog website Politifact.com called the claim “barely true.”

The truth, as Politifact noted, is that the Secure Fence Act of 2006 called for “at least two layers of reinforced fencing.” The law was watered down a year later to allow the Department of Homeland Security to determine what kind of “fence” was necessary in any particular location.

The result: Politifact reported that “the vast majority of the (fencing) requirement was met with vehicle barriers and single-layer pedestrian fence. The original act specifically called for double-layer fencing, and (out of 649 miles) only 36.3 miles of double-layered fencing currently exist.”

Maybe it is a banana after all, senator.

After apparently digesting its own report, Politifact changed its mind on the veracity of President Obama’s claim that the border fence was “basically complete.” Whereas the website initially called the president’s statement “barely true,” “On July 27, 2011, we changed the name for the rating to Mostly False.”

Last month, a federal judge approved a lawsuit by a group of Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers who say directives from their superiors at Homeland Security and ICE Director John Morton have ordered them not to enforce federal immigration laws – and that they’ve been threatened with discipline if they do.

American citizens, especially those who are continuing to tangle with illegals on the border, are understandably upset and skeptical that their government will secure the border.

We would suggest that Sen. McCain, confronted with such anger and skepticism at his town hall – instead of spouting sarcasm and derision – could have replied that he understood why people felt that way, given recent history. And he further could have offered the most vocal critic a helicopter ride over the border to prove his point.

At what point does one forget how to serve in Washington?

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